Pivot Point by Kasie West

PivotPointTitle: Pivot Point

Author: Kasie West

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal/Science Fiction

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 352

Rating: 3.5/5

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Yay, second debut of the year! Sure, it wasn’t my favorite book of the year so far or even the week I read it during, but it was definitely a much, much better experience than I had with my first debut of the year. This book definitely wasn’t what I expected, either from the summary, the genre, or the few reviews I read before finding this book at the library, but that doesn’t mean that it was a complete bust.

My main issue with this book was its reliance on common tropes and even stereotypes as well as its lack of paranormal mystery. First, for the former problem. The characters themselves aren’t necessarily stereotypes, but there were a lot of stereotypical character traits. Addie, the main character, is the shy, quiet, background ying to her best friend, Laila’s, loud, outspoken, and bold yang. I’m just starting to get tired of quiet main characters who are best friends with outspoken girls. It’s never the other way around and the friends rarely seem to be both quiet or both loud. Instead, a lot of young adult friendships consist of the quiet good girls laughing at and occasionally looking down on their loud, slightly bad girl friends. In this case, I actually mostly liked Laila, which was good for me (I have a big problem with best friends in a lot of young adult books, so it’s always great when I actually like, or can even tolerate, the best friend), but it still annoyed me while I was reading it. There were also a few other stereotypical characters – the jealous cheerleader ex, the jerky jock who might actually be nice and not just charming, the cocky best friend of a love interest – but there are also some stereotypical characters with a bit of a twist – the former football quarterback who loves drawing comic strips and… okay, that’s all that comes to mind right now. Oh well, one is better than none.

My second issue is that I felt like I was reading a contemporary book with a little bit of a paranormal twist rather than a paranormal mystery. It wasn’t necessarily a problem, but it did confuse me when I kept expecting something and got something else instead. There was a mystery, but it was pretty small and remained mostly in the background until the very end. I loved it when the two timelines mixed together, either with small, blink-and-you-miss-it similarities with the other timeline or a single event taking place in both timelines, but overall they seemed quite separate. Again, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was something that was always there and annoying me slightly while I read.

This book had quite an unusual love triangle, since the two love interests weren’t actually taking place in the same timeline. Despite that, like many other love triangles, one of the love interests seemed a lot more genuine than the other one. I’m not going to say which is which, but I am going to say that one romance definitely seemed rushed and less genuine. In one timeline, Addie would be having cute moments with a boy she really cared about, and in the other she would be doubting the cute boy who randomly starting liking her. Not the greatest love triangle, nor the most balanced, that’s for sure.

I was really unsure how this book was going to end. I already know that (SPOILER) she erased the timeline she didn’t choose, but I didn’t know which she would choose and why. When we learned who the killer from the background mystery was, I was actually pleasantly surprised because I hadn’t guessed who it was. Maybe that was because the mystery was barely there until the end, but I’m going to go with the author doing a good job with the mystery in the end. I was also worried that the book would end with her choosing and the second book would be the fallout, and I was even more worried that I would have to sit through one of the timelines again, but this book again pleasantly surprised me by skipping ahead to the end of the timeline she chose with the last chapter or two.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like this book a lot, and it was definitely true that I had quite a few problems with it, but I didn’t hate it. I actually kind of enjoyed it, enough to check out the sequel as well as Kasie West’s contemporary book, which is coming out this summer. And, like my review of my first 2013 debut, this review ended up going very long, but I just had a lot to say about this book. I hope my 2013 debuts continue to increase in regards with my enjoyment of them.



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